China's Suzhou gears up for COVID-19 infection increase
People's Daily Online
(Xinhua) 09:57, December 23, 2022
NANJING, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- In the Gusu District of Suzhou City in east China's Jiangsu Province, obsolete nucleic acid testing booths have been repurposed into temporary fever clinics to cope with a recent surge in patients battling COVID-19 infections.
Wu Yanfang, a community doctor in the district's Shuangta sub-district, has been working with colleagues in a temporary fever clinic since Dec. 10. "The number of visiting residents has increased from a few to dozens. We have extended working hours according to the number of consultations."
Each fever clinic has a consultation room and a pharmacy room, which can provide a one-stop medical service including diagnosis, prescription issuing and medicine dispensing. "Patients with fever, sore throat, or respiratory diseases can receive basic treatment and get medicines here. We will transfer some patients to hospitals if they have more severe symptoms," Wu said.
"We don't have to queue for a long time for medical treatment at the temporary fever clinic, and we can purchase drugs with our health insurance," said Ma Ming, a local resident. Ma said his child had a fever but a negative antigen test result, so he went to the neighborhood fever clinic to get some medicine for medical observation at home, thus avoiding the possibility of cross-infection in hospital.
Access to healthcare is more convenient for residents because these clinics are located in their neighborhoods, according to Cao Qiaolu, deputy director of the district's community healthcare center. Thanks to these temporary clinics, it usually takes around 15 minutes for a patient with a fever to see a doctor and obtain medicines.
In order to ease the pressure on hospital fever clinics, Suzhou has strived to promote the expansion of the fever diagnosis and treatment system. At present, Suzhou has set up 1,035 temporary fever clinics, with the majority of the medical staff coming from local community hospitals. Over 50,000 visits have been made to the clinics since Dec. 10. Some fever clinics even offer 24-hour offline services to satisfy residents' medical needs.
With the number of COVID-19 infections rising, Suzhou has rolled out various measures to cope with the situation. In Wujiang District, shared medicine boxes have been made and placed in residential areas, encouraging residents to put extra drugs in such boxes for needy neighbors.
An online version of the shared medicine box was also created by Huangjiaxi Village in Wujiang District. Yu Yun, deputy chief of the village's Party committee, said that villagers can voluntarily enter details of some medicines they can provide, or which they need, on an online form.
"A total of 36 pieces of drug-related information were gathered in just one day. With this form, we can more precisely manage supply and demand in order to effectively meet the medical needs of villagers. If some villagers are not able to go outside and buy medicines, we can also organize volunteers to deliver medicines to their homes," Yu said.
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